How to Prep for Your Next Off-Roading Trip
Going on an off-roading or overlanding adventure is one of the most exhilarating things that you can do in your life. Off-roading bloggers from Siberian4x4.com point out that aside from gaining a lost connection to the wilderness, off-roading also allows you to forge your own trails and overcome the various natural obstacles prepared by Mother Nature.
However, off-roading is also a hazardous and dangerous activity — especially if you haven’t taken the time to plan for the trip. With that said, we’ve listed below some tips that can help you have a safe and successful off-road trip.
Map out your adventure
Despite gaining an unmatched amount of freedom by going off the main road, you will still need to map your route. Planning allows you to familiarize yourself with what you might encounter on the trip and figure out what supplies and equipment you might need to bring. Thankfully, you can easily research off-roading route by using various GPS and navigation apps (like Avenza Maps) that have access to millions of maps. Maps can be downloaded and show your exact location, even while offline and without an internet connection. Some of our favourites are the USFS MVUM maps and National Geographic maps. You can get more coverage from publishers such as Garmin and Backroad Mapbooks or region or state-specific maps such as those from Benchmark Maps (Oregon).
Invest in your vehicle so it can handle the trip
Today’s SUVs and trucks are packed full of features that make it possible to go on short off-roading adventures. But if you’re planning an off-roading excursion that’s not for the faint of heart, you should transform your vehicle into something ready for extended off-road use. These modifications can include new off-road tires, improved suspension, and a new pull bar. These mods will improve the capability of your vehicle and increase your ability to complete the trip safely. However, this can also get expensive, especially since the increasing costs for products, shipping containers, and labor have driven auto part prices up. It’s best to plan and budget accordingly.
Learn how to air down your tires
Air pressure greatly affects the amount of grip in different types of terrain. Whether you’re driving on dirt roads, trails with rocks, or pavement, your tire pressure ranges may vary from 15 to 35 psi. Just remember to bring an air compressor so that you’re able to add more air and closely monitor the tires and how the air pressure affects your vehicle’s handling.
Learn how to get unstuck
It’s part of the adventure that your vehicle may experience a breakdown or get stuck, but getting help from the middle of nowhere is sometimes not possible. Be resourceful and learn how to get unstuck and, at minimum, learn how to use tire jacks and change a tire. To get out of traction-limited situations like loose sand or mud, learn how to use recovery boards to provide your tires with more grip or a tall tire jack to get unstuck over a rock.
Practice proper driving posture
Having the incorrect posture on a long drive to your off-road adventure can cause annoying back pains, or sore neck or legs. Take a moment to set up your seat correctly and aim for a relaxed position so that you’re not over or underreaching the steering wheel and pedals.
Pack everything you need
As we've mentioned, mapping out your trip allows you to figure out what kind of equipment you might need to pack for an off-roading trip. Since going rogue can land you in the wilderness where the nearest store or establishment is tens of kilometres away, it’s best to pack essentials such as safety gear, food, extra fuel, and a basic first aid kit. In addition, you should also have a dedicated off-road toolbox in your vehicle that has all the tools you need to tackle any kind of trail repair — whether it’s on your vehicle or someone else’s.
Bring a friend
An off-roading trip is more fun and rewarding if you’re in the company of someone you enjoy hanging out with. Having someone with you during a trip also raises your chances of getting back to safety if you encounter a problem during your trip. Be sure to call up any like-minded pals who also enjoy the outdoors the next time you prepare for an off-roading trip. If they’re as adventurous and free-spirited as you, they’ll most likely say yes to your offers of adventure and fun.
Written by Annalise Carter
Exclusive for avenzamaps.com